Caskey Costa Rica Mission Trip Day 3 Party Time

Day 3 is now in the books. It was a pretty easy day today, by design, as we were resting up, and prepping for the Pastor’s conference, which starts tomorrow. But, that doesn’t mean we did nothing.

The day started with me wishing my oldest daughter a happy 19th birthday. Yes, she turned 19 years old. Man, am I feeling old. Then after everyone was up, we went on a walking tour of the town of Atenas. The town is your typical Costa Rican town with a big Catholic Church and a park as the center pieces on the main square. We got a glimpse of what life is like in Costa Rica by visiting the local grocery stores, some restaurants, walking through the church, hanging out in the park for a while, and just walking along the streets. The people are really friendly and very laid back. The slow pace here, could be very contagious. We had lunch a one of the local restaurants, which was nice. Also, we were able to pick up a few decorations and things for my daughter’s birthday party we were going to have later back at the Lucas’. I was also able to buy a few bags of Costa Rican coffee to bring back home. It was a requirement from my wife that I bring back some coffee. Costa Rica is known for it’s coffee and Atenas specifically is one of the largest coffee growing areas in Costa Rica. It’s the best I’ve had and it’s very inexpensive here. Bonus!

Later, back at the Lucas’ I spent some of the afternoon listening to and watching some iWorship DVDs in preparation to lead worship at their Wednesday night English speaking service at their church. Then, we got everything ready for my daughter’s birthday party where we had pizza and a delicious, homemade chocolate cake. What an experience she had spending her 19th birthday in Costa Rica.

After that, it was time for church. We got there a little early to get setup, and the church’s Spanish worship team was still rehearsing for their Sunday service. So, I got a chance to listen to them for a little while. That was pretty cool, but of course, I couldn’t understand hardly anything, but their sound was good. Finally, our service got started and it was a lot of fun getting a chance to lead worship for the group that was there. I’m glad I was able to help Steve out. It was a great night of teaching also, because Steve, as usual delivered a great message. It was awesome hearing him teach again. It was on Revelation 2 and the first part of chapter 3.

Once back at their house, it was time to get things ready for the Pastor’s conference to start tomorrow. We spent the rest of the time preparing the packets the Pastors will receive, the gift bags and going over the agenda for the next few days. It’s going to be a packed 3 days coming up, but  looking forward to it. It will be a privilege serving these Pastors at the conference. I look forward to meeting them and seeing how God can use me and my kids to meet their needs. I pray that they will be blessed, refreshed and equipped for their ministry. Please pray for them.

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She Can’t Be Turning 18 Already

I almost can’t bring myself to say it. It just doesn’t feel right coming off the tongue. But, I guess I have to get use to it because time doesn’t stand still. It marches on at a rapid pace. Sometimes, so fast, that inside I’m screaming, STOP!!! I feel like that right now. On Tuesday, June 22nd, my oldest child, my wonderful oldest daughter, my first baby girl, the one that it seems like just yesterday I was calling “Pumpkin Face”, turns the magical age of 18. There, I said it, or wrote it in this case. Either way, it still doesn’t feel right.

Once again, like I always do, when coming up on these major milestone birthdays, I tend to do a lot of reflecting on the time that’s passed. The first thing that I think about, is that the wonderful day that she was born, was the day AFTER Father’s Day! I never let her forget that I had to wait a full 365 days before I had my first Father’s Day. Ok, sorry, enough of that. This is supposed to be a happy post. Actually, that day was one of the most exciting days in my life. One of the first things that I always think about is the little baby girl with the little red “Pumpkin Face” that I held so carefully in my arms. I remember how my wife would let me give her her last feeding of the night and how that precious little baby girl would drink until she had her fill and would fall asleep while still drinking. But then, I’d still have to take her on what we called the “Magic Daddy Ride” to get her to go to sleep and stay asleep. I look back on the first soccer game, first day of school, first basketball game, first time driving by herself, first Homecoming dance, first Prom, and the many of “firsts” that have come and gone. As many of those things were firsts for her, they were also firsts for my wife and I as parents. Through it all, I see the girl that has grown and matured into a wonderful young, adult woman, who continues to melt her Dad’s heart every single day.

Now, as I think of the present and look forward, the thoughts of just how little time we have left with her weigh heavy on my heart. I think of how little time there is to see her each day, to hear her laugh at any time, to give her all the necessary advice for adulthood (she’d say I’ve given too much), to tell her I love her, that I’m always here for her, that I’m sorry for the arguments we’ve had, and to ask for forgiveness for the mistakes that I’ve made as her father. This is when I want to yell “STOP”, “WAIT”, “DO OVER”!!! But, I know that’s not possible. We all have to move forward with our bumpy road in our past, and learn from it. It’s very strange though because even though all of that does make me sad and nervous, I still have this great sense of joy, excitement, and peace, because I know the young adult woman that she’s turned out to be.

There are exciting times ahead and I’m excited for her. I look forward to watching her continue to grow and mature, and take on, and conquer, the new challenges to come. I’m confident that the Lord will guide her steps. I’m confident that she is ready to make this leap into adulthood. I’m confident in HER.

So, I celebrate this day, June 22, 2010, and say HAPPY 18th BIRTHDAY to my baby girl.

Tribute To Momma Jane

I want to take this time to celebrate the life and pay tribute to the woman that I came to call Momma Jane. Momma Jane was my mother-in-law. I was blessed enough to know her for 14 years, before she went home to be with the Lord about 10 years ago. I know, when you think of in-laws, you think, oh no, the in-laws. But, she didn’t fit the stereotype.

Momma Jane from the day I met her was always a fun-loving person. She was full of life, energy and always had a positive outlook on life. She always treated me with respect, kindness and like another son. I appreciated how she eagerly welcomed me into the family when Denise and I got married. I especially appreciated, and still laugh hysterically, at how she wanted to talk to me in private, to make sure I knew what I was getting into, when Denise and I announced our engagement. She knew her daughter all too well. And I quickly learned what she meant. Just kidding, just kidding.

That brings me to what I’m most appreciative of regarding my mother-in-law. And that is that she raised her daughter, who is my wife, very well. I thank her for the love and support she always gave my wife. She was an encouraging individual, and wore her pride, she had in her daughter, on her sleeve. Because of a lady like her, I have the wonderful wife that I have.

I have the typical regrets, when it comes to life, and how short it can be, like my kids not getting to know her any better than they did and vice versa. Me not having a longer time to know her, and my wife not able to have her Mom around anymore. But, we have to move forward in faith and find joy in the fact that we will see her again, for my wife had the privilege of leading her Mom, my Momma Jane, into a relationship with Jesus Christ, near the end of her life.

So, this is a tribute to Momma Jane. I celebrate your life, and say, Happy Birthday!